Planting Wild Rice in Marsh

Discussion in 'Habitat Forum' started by Dubya, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. JFG

    JFG Elite Refuge Member

    Sep 9, 2002
    Coastal NC
    Enlighten please SS! I have some deep interior borrow ditches that are virgin and need something growing in them . . . :tu
  2. Ringbill

    Ringbill Elite Refuge Member Flyway Manager

    Jul 8, 2000
    Squaw Lake,MN USA
    I'm not claiming to be any expert, but I've learned a lot from the University of Minnesota Ag dept over the years and have planted it in a variety of locations over the last 40 years.
    First off, you can't buy wild rice in the store and expect to plant it.
    It must be green, or freshly harvested rice.
    At times, we'd harvest it in September, then put it into buckets and fill with fresh WELL water, or lake water. You cannot preserve it using 'city' treated water.
    Then we'd go out and plant it right before freezeup, so less of it would be eaten by the birds.
    As far as actually planting it, we were doing some large bays, so we'd drain the buckets, then mix the green rice with dry oats and get all this premix into buckets.
    That way, the oats help separate some of the green rice, so it broadcasts more evenly, and the rice sinks, but the oats float, so you can see the areas that you have already broadcasted and planted. I'd most often run my little 3hp weedless Evinrude around and stir up the mucky bottom, which in turn gets that rice seed mixed with the muck, increasing germination, which takes place up here in May.

    Saying that, I'd be suspect on the viability of trying to plant rice way down south in Kansas. I beleive if you contact Wildlife Nurseries or one of the other wildlife vegetation places in Wisconsin, they could better help steer you onto real workable vegetation for your specific area. Perhaps Millet or?

    I've found that wild rice is VERY per snickety and fussy on where it will grow and especially where it will prosper.
    Up here, the best conditions are shallow 1-3 foot water, that is not stagnant
    It also just loves the loon crap or mucky bottoms best. The harder bottoms make it harder to root.

    Local Canadas just love to get into these bays with their young and 'crop' the tops of the rice as it starts standing up from the floating leaf stage.
    Needless to say, that destroys the reproductive capacity of those plants.

    Get on the phone with one of the Wisconsin nurseries that specialize in all types of acquatic plants and they can be a tremendous help with gaining knowledge and access to the seeds and young plants you may want to put in

  3. Super Swamper

    Super Swamper Moderator Moderator

    Jan 20, 2007
    Central Maryland
    There are tons of options for the ditch banks (even in the water), although it's bigger duck food (duck potato and similar plants). Deep in the water, if you have a little bit of flow and not totally nasty conditions, eastern wild rice (Z aquatica, not the Z. arborea some of these great lakes guys are talking about), or maybe even commercial rice might work. It needs to get in the water early in spring, and protected from heavy duck and goose predation.

    Once it grows up and breaks the water surface, it is susceptible to goose munching again. Once the seeds pop, grackles etc. will tend to beat up the plants. Luckily that's July/August with just 60-90 days until duck season.

    Wild rice is an incredibly high quality bird food. Problem is, the birds know it too.

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